Jaxen Wiebe’s overtime goal, first junior hat-trick, puts Oil Kings back in contention

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SAINT JOHN, NJ – The WHL Champion Edmonton Oil Kings are back in action for the 2022 Memorial Cup.

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The Oil Kings pulled off a 4-3 overtime win over host St. John Sea Dogs at Harbor Station on Wednesday to keep their championship hopes alive.

Jaxen Wiebe scored the winning goal at 8:05 in overtime to complete his three-on-three hat-trick. With this victory, the Oil Kings earned two points in the standings, while the Sea Dogs received one for the overtime loss.

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“After losing, your group should bounce back stronger, and I thought we did it, it was a common group work,” Wiebe said. “Our guys went into battle and received an award for this.

“Scoring three goals is something special, but today our whole group came out on the field, and I am very proud that we retreated after the (Tuesday) game. We’ll take that and get ready for Hamilton.”

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The Oil Kings lost their first game of the tournament to the Shawinigan Cataracts on Tuesday and were expecting their final blow to be over if they lost a second straight in a row.

However, Wiebe had the game of a lifetime, including a first-period bout against Sea Dogs forward Riley Bezo.

Wiebe scored the winning goal in overtime by running down the right flank with an over-the-shoulder shot against Sea Dogs goaltender Nicolas Hurtubise. It was Wiebe’s first ever youth hat-trick.

Carter Such added another for the Oil Kings and goaltender Sebastian Kossa made 36 saves.

“I think it started in the corner and Gules[Kaiden Gule]made me a bet,” Wiebe said. “There is a lot of room to skate in overtime and I thought I could put my own skates in there. I rolled down the wing and just pulled the trigger and luckily it worked.”

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Shortly before the tournament, the KHL announced a new scoring system: three for a regular win, two for an overtime win, and one for an overtime loss. They also introduced a new overtime format that would be three on three until the winning goal was scored.

“I think it was an amazing show for the KHL and for the Memorial Cup,” said Sea Dogs head coach Gardiner McDougall. “It was excruciating for our team because they worked so hard, but I think there were a lot of positives.

“We knew they were coming early and we lost 2-0 and we had the guts to bounce back and I thought it was an outstanding response to come up 3-2. Then when you get to 3v3 it’s a top notch 3v3 game and both teams had huge opportunities. I think both goalkeepers made some incredible saves.”

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Raivis Christian Ansons, Josh Lawrence and William Dufour scored for the Sea Dogs, while Hurtubis made 27 saves.

Wiebe opened the scoring just over two minutes into the game, scoring the puck in front of Khurtubis. Just over two minutes later, Soach gave the Oil Kings a 2-0 lead.

Oil Kings forward Justin Williams was able to beat his man on the outside and sent a pass from the left to Suuch, who hit the net. Souch scored a goal and provided two assists.

“I think it was really good teamwork from everyone tonight,” Such said. “Jaxen was great. This is his first junior hat-trick; All I have is that he is related to me, but it’s pretty crazy that he got one in the Memorial Cup.”

The Sea Dogs bounced back with a goal in the sixth minute of the first period when the puck bounced up ahead of Ansons and he shot it through Kossa’s pads.

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St. John then equalized 25 seconds later when Lawrence was credited with a goal after bouncing off the skate of Oil Kings defenseman Simon Kubitschek in front.

Dufour gave the Sea Dogs a 3-2 lead midway through the period when he shot wide of Kossa from the short side.

“We had a rough start but we were able to bounce back right away and that was good for our team,” Dufour said. “We showed character. We had a few chances in overtime, I had a two-on-one and I could finish that game, but Kossa made a big save and that’s why he was selected in the first round of the NHL, he is a very good goalkeeper.

The Oil Kings equalized 3-3 in the second minute of the second period when Wiebe scored a powerplay goal. He was able to pick up the puck after Soach hit the post, hit the net and shot wide of Hurtubis from the left.

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Brendan Cooney came close to giving the Oil Kings the lead later in the period, but landed a shot from the goal post on the breakaway.

The situation escalated in the remainder of the period after the frantic first 10 minutes of the fight.

In overtime, the Oil Kings had a better chance than the game winner Wiebe. Edmonton beat St. John’s 7–5 in overtime by three margins.

“I think we got off to a really good start, we got through the first period and I enjoyed our second period,” said Oil Kings head coach Brad Lauer. “I thought we were a bit tired from yesterday’s game, but I think our guys did the right thing at the right time. And I really enjoyed our overtime, I thought we had a lot of chances and we did a lot of good things.”

Email: dvandiest@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @DerekVanDist

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